Drug Traffickers Exploit Christmas Spirit in Central America
By Dialogo December 29, 2010
A group of drug traffickers decided to exploit the Christmas spirit and hid a shipment of cocaine among toys and candy to be donated to poor children in Nicaragua.
The drugs were seized during Christmas week at an inspection post on the border with Costa Rica, the Nicaraguan police said.
“It was a donation that was being sent to Nicaraguan children. There are no links between the people shipping the drugs and the people who sent the donation,” said Esteban Guido, a senior commissioner in the Nicaraguan national police.
The drugs, 334 kilos of cocaine hidden among 50 bags of candy and 250 bags of toys, were being transported in two trucks with Guatemalan and Nicaraguan license plates.
“We’ve spoken with the Costa Rican authorities, and they’ve cooperated with us. The drugs are linked to wholesale dealers in Costa Rica,” he explained.
For years, Central America has been a transit route for South American cocaine, but the powerful Mexican cartels have recently increased their presence in the region in response to the military campaign they are facing in their own country.
According to analysts, Mexican cartels are buying land, warehousing drugs and weapons, and contracting Nicaraguan gang members to sell narcotics.
Guido said that the case is still under investigation and has not been linked to any particular cartel.